The Department for Education consultation “Savings to the Education Services Grant for 2015-16” launched on 27 March 2014 has caused consternation amongst the music education sector and particularly in those music services who stand to lose up to £14.3m of Local Authority funding if the proposals go through.
The government’s National Plan for Music Education relies on a balance of funding from a range of sources to be delivered successfully. Not only has government made large cuts year on year to its ring-fenced funding since the plan was introduced, but now its latest proposal will see further cuts of over £14m to music services, at a time when school budgets remain under significant downward pressure and parents and families are finding it much harder to make financial contributions to the costs of music education.
The UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark considers the proposal to be ill-judged, very damaging to music education provided by some music services and even potentially conflicts with the government’s own Department for Communities and Local Government policy on “giving local authorities more control over how they spend public money in their area”.
Music Mark is currently consulting with its music service members on the nature of these proposals as a prelude to making a robust and vigorous response to government on behalf of its members and also the countless children and young people whose music education could be seriously and irrevocably harmed if these cuts go through.